Four Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots, chosen as candidate-astronauts for India’s first manned mission Gaganyaan, have begun training at the Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC) in Moscow, Russia.

  • In June 2019, the Human Space Flight Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Russian government-owned Glavkosmos signed a contract for the training, which includes Russian support in the selection of candidates, their medical examination, and space training.
  • The candidates will study in detail the systems of the Soyuz manned spaceship, as well as be trained in short-term weightlessness mode aboard the Il-76MDK aircraft.
    • The Soyuz is a Russian spacecraft. The Soyuz carries people and supplies to and from the space station.
    • The Il-76MDK is a military transport plane specially designed for parabolic flights of trainee astronauts and space tourists.
  • The candidates will also be trained to take appropriate actions during emergencies — for example, should the spacecraft make an abnormal landing in (unplanned) climate and geographic zones.


  • Gaganyaan is the ₹10,000-crore Indian human space flight scheduled for 2022. It is designed to have 3-7 crew members spend 3-7 days in space in a 400-km orbit.
  • The first of the two pre-Gaganyaan flights with a humanoid will be launched in 2020-end along with some of the six shortlisted microgravity experiments.

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Source: TH